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Weblog — Reflections from the President

  • October 20, 2013

    Research at the University of Toronto: A Global Phenomenon

    I have written about academic collaboration in these posts before. In “It’s a Collaborative World” I highlighted a recent Nature article arguing that “world-class research has entered a new era, one driven by international collaboration.” And I cited some evidence of growing international collaboration over the past two decades at the University of Toronto. Below […]

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  • September 10, 2013

    Surprising evidence about tuitions, quality and access…

    Surprising evidence about tuitions, quality and access… and the implications for policy-making This is a story about the University of Toronto’s commitment to student aid. It takes a bit of context to set the stage; feel free to skip ahead to the meat-and-potatoes conclusion or bear with me for some background… Background This past spring, […]

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  • July 30, 2013

    Ubiquitous Computing

    Contributing to the Social Issues in Computing blog has caused a subacute exacerbation of my chronic case of impostor syndrome. I am, after all, a professor of medicine treading in the digital backyard of the University’s renowned Department of Computer Science [CS]. That said, there are three reasons why I am glad to have been […]

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  • June 19, 2013

    It’s a Collaborative World

    “The fourth age of research” is a fascinating article in the May 30, 2013 issue of Nature. The author – Jonathan Adams, former director of research evaluation at Thomson Reuters – argues that world-class research has entered a new era, one driven by international collaboration.

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  • June 10, 2013

    A Conversation with Sam Pitroda

    On June 10, 2013, the University of Toronto conferred an honorary degree upon Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations. Dr. Pitroda is a towering figure in the modern technological and social history of India. His pioneering work in spearheading the telecommunications transformation in India has led […]

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  • June 05, 2013

    A Conversation with Alumni William Buxton and William Reeves

    On Wednesday, June 5, Professor David Naylor hosted a conversation with alumni and recent honorary degree recipients William Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, and William Reeves, Pixar Animation Studios. The event was moderated by Professor Eugene Fiume, Department of Computer Science, and more than 200 University students, faculty, staff, community members, and leaders from […]

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  • April 25, 2013

    In support of MIT

    Yesterday MIT held a memorial service for Campus Police Officer Sean Collier. On behalf of the entire University of Toronto community, I wrote to President Reif expressing our sadness and sympathies. The text of the letter is quoted below. There is an obituary for Officer Collier posted on MIT’s website and MIT is also hosting […]

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  • April 16, 2013

    Two Stories About the New Canada Research Chairs Re-Allocation

    The results of the biennial Canada Research Chair (CRC) re-allocation were announced last week, and they represent a significant achievement for the University of Toronto research community. The Short Story In short, the University of Toronto received funding for ten new Chairs – an outstanding result. This institutional success story reflects an enormous amount of […]

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  • April 13, 2013

    A Conversation at the Canadian Club

    On April 5th I had the great pleasure of a wide-ranging conversation with two esteemed colleagues who know a thing or three about universities. One was Heather Munroe-Blum, who will complete her second and final five-year term as Principal of McGill University on June 30th. The other was U of T President Emeritus J. Robert […]

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  • March 21, 2013

    The Rise and Rise of the Rotman School of Management

    The media’s appetite for university rankings is insatiable (and getting more so, to borrow an ironic malapropism). This is nowhere more evident than in the crowded field of business school rankings. All the major outlets seem to have their own rankings, including among many others Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Financial Times, Forbes, The Economist, and US News […]

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  • March 11, 2013

    U of T Faculty and Students Dominate NSERC Awards

    On February 27 at Rideau Hall, Governor General David Johnston graciously hosted the annual awards of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), an important celebration of Canadian discovery and innovation at its best.

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  • March 08, 2013

    An Excellent Decision: Meric Gertler, 16th President of the University of Toronto

    A brief note to draw to readers’ attention my remarks at Governing Council on Monday, on the appointment of Professor Meric Gertler as the 16th President of the University of Toronto: Thank you, Mr Chair. First, I would like to congratulate and thank the Search Committee and the Governing Council for an excellent decision. You […]

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  • February 25, 2013

    Royal Jelly

    The Royal Society of Canada is over 100 years old and counts some 2000 of Canada’s leading scholars, artists, and scientists among its peer-elected members. Its Fellows, in the words of the Society, “comprise a collegium that can provide intellectual leadership for the betterment of Canada and the world.” Election to the Royal Society of […]

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  • January 29, 2013

    Building the Transportation System the Toronto Region Needs – your32.com

    Residents of the Toronto region have seen transportation plans come and go, following a depressing pattern of studies, announcements, and political gridlock. Actual improvements are inadequate to the region’s present needs – not to mention its needs over the next generation and beyond – and these are achieved at a glacial pace. (Perhaps in the […]

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  • December 22, 2012

    Best of the season!

    Best wishes for an enjoyable and, I hope, relaxing holiday!

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  • November 13, 2012

    Remembrance Day Service at Soldiers’ Tower

    On the morning of Friday, November 9, I had the privilege of attending the University of Toronto’s 88th Remembrance Day service at Soldiers’ Tower. As always, I was struck by the dignity of the event, the large turn-out, the wide participation of the estates of the University in the wreath-laying, and the evergreen messages conveyed […]

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  • October 11, 2012

    Address to the Hong Kong Canada Chamber of Commerce

    Toronto and Hong Kong: A Tale of Two Regions President David Naylor addressed the Hong Kong Canada Chamber of Commerce on October 11. In his address, “Toronto and Hong Kong: A Tale of Two Regions“, he noted that Hong Kong and Toronto are two regions that differ sharply in many ways, but also have much […]

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  • September 18, 2012

    OSAP Default Rates – Positive Overall Trends

    As readers know, recent posts by this typist have paid some attention to net tuition (as contrasted with the misleading focus on ‘sticker price’), and have also examined some information on student debt. This post is in the same vein. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities [MTCU] has advised that OSAP default rates are due to […]

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  • September 11, 2012

    Origins of First-Year Undergraduates

    Few if any universities in the world can rival the cultural diversity of our student population. The array of traditions, customs, histories, and perspectives represented on our three campuses is exhilarating.

    This year, our first-year undergraduate students come from 111 countries and over 900 municipalities from around the globe.

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  • August 22, 2012

    The Rise and Rise of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design

    With many big trees in our academic forest, smaller divisions of the University are not always in the sunshine, but their quality is impressive and, in many cases, their broad public impact is enormous. Prominent in this respect is the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design (FALD).

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  • August 08, 2012

    Innovation in Canada: Pitfalls and Potential

    The current issue of Policy Options includes an article by this typist on innovation in Canada. The issue, Policy Challenges for 2020, marks the 40th anniversary of the Institute for Research on Public Policy. An abridged version appears in the current issue of The Hill Times.

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  • July 16, 2012

    Student Debt Redux

    In a previous post, I flagged shifts in domestic student indebtedness that we have observed over the past few years at the University of Toronto. A recent article (May 25, 2012) in the Chronicle of Higher Education provides a perspective on the situation south of the border.

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  • June 28, 2012

    U of T Research Outperforms

    The Globe and Mail recently ran a brief supplement on Canadian universities that had done well in the Times Higher Education rankings.

    The main article included some commentary from the executive heads of UBC and McGill as well as this typist. In addition, there was an op-ed about U of T in the same supplement.

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  • June 05, 2012

    Striking Evolution at UTM and UTSC

    The University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) continue on their remarkable trajectories. The chart below shows the relative sizes of UTM and UTSC compared to the largest 80 universities in Canada. (click for a larger version): The enrolment numbers are the total head-counts (no adjustment for FTE) of undergrad […]

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  • May 29, 2012

    An Illuminating Annual Report on Student Financial Support

    The University of Toronto’s Governing Council received the Annual Report on Student Financial Support at its meeting on April 11. It is a remarkable document and it tells what I believe is an under-reported story.

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  • May 10, 2012

    Research at the University of Toronto – Follow-up

    Last week I singled out the wonderful annual report from the Vice-President, Research, called Life in 2027 – Excellence, Innovation, Leadership: Research at the University of Toronto. Let me add a short footnote: The Research Insider is an interesting new quarterly newsletter published by the Office of the Vice President, Research, to provide the University’s […]

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  • May 02, 2012

    Value for Money at Ontario’s Universities

    Steve Paikin of TVO’s The Agenda is a consummate professional, and it was a pleasure to join Mr. Paikin and three very smart individuals on air for a debate last week about value-for-money in higher education. Ever optimistic, I took along these two figures in hopes they could be projected on camera. Alas, time and […]

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  • May 01, 2012

    Excellence, Innovation, Leadership: Research at the University of Toronto

    The University of Toronto’s strength in research and scholarship is recognized and celebrated across Canada and around the world. The numbers speak for themselves: University of Toronto faculty, staff, and students lead Canada in aggregate publication numbers and citation counts as measured by Thomson Reuters. Remarkably, as this analysis is broken down by discipline, the […]

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  • April 13, 2012

    The International Student Claw-back: A Permanent Policy Shift or Temporary Expedient?

    Bad economic times force Governments to make bigger and harder choices.  In such a fraught context, petty and puzzling trade-offs can also occur at the margins in the tussle around budget-making.  I would like to think this general phenomenon explains the recent decision by the Ontario Government to impose a claw-back that penalizes universities for […]

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  • April 12, 2012

    President Naylor On CBC’s Metro Morning

    I spoke with Matt Galloway on the CBC’s Metro Morning yesterday. We talked about some of the themes I raised in my recent speech to the Toronto Board of Trade. You can listen to the podcast on the Metro Morning website. Or you can download or listen to the mp3 directly.

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  • April 02, 2012

    The Toronto Metropolitan Region – Diversity, Convergence, and Synergy

    Here are five striking facts about the Toronto metropolitan region, cribbed from my March 23 speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.

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  • March 02, 2012

    A vibrant student blogosphere at U of T

    The University of Toronto blogosphere is large and lively. For some years, I’ve browsed various of the postings by student, faculty, and staff bloggers. It’s a self-selected group, of course, but does offer an interesting window on ideas and issues, not to mention what appear, at least from their digital trails, some fascinating characters! For […]

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  • February 17, 2012

    Toronto Among Top Major Cities of the Future

    Reading Thomas Friedman and U of T’s own Richard Florida, I’d conclude that the world is flat and spiky all at once. Flat in the ease with which people, ideas, goods, and services move around this hot and crowded planet. And spiky in the sense that population and creative activity are concentrated increasingly in a number of urban regions that serve as global hubs.

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  • February 03, 2012

    University of California’s Budget Myths and Facts

    Like many institutions, the University of California posts a wealth of information about its budget, student and faculty profiles, research performance, and other interesting stuff. Archives go back to 2009.

    A particularly interesting chart tracks state general funding of the University of California and California State University versus the California Department of Corrections.

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  • February 03, 2012

    The global flow of international students

    The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) recently published their statistics on the “international flows of mobile students at the tertiary level (ISCED 5 and 6)”.

    You can download the full spreadsheet.

    Here is a fascinating visualization (click for a larger version )…

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  • January 30, 2012

    Welcome to the Weblog

    By way of introduction, I’d like to pose and address a few questions.

    What is this?

    A periodically updated collection of reflections, snippets, comments, and notes. Most of the entries will address issues affecting the University of Toronto, higher education in general, research and innovation in Canada, or cities (especially the Toronto conurbation).

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